Redhead Baby Mama | Atlanta Mom Blogger

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Your Kid Wants to Be a Star? Real advice from a Casting Director

Some of you may know that my husband is a casting director for television and film (Chase has worked on Sleepy Hollow, Need for Speed, Satisfaction, Playstation's POWERS and many other awesome projects).  Other of you may have even asked my advice on your children in film, television and commercials!  What you may not know is that developing and building a film career is a long and challenging process.  If your child or teenager is eager to break into the world of film and television, take a peek at this advice from Chase.  He's listed a series of tips that will guide you through your process, and make sure you don't become one of those "Stage Moms!" Take it away, baby....

Many parents think their children are precocious, outgoing, and capable of anything. We're their parents, of course we should think that! However the reality is that acting isn't for everyone. So how do you know?  Below are the steps to take to get your child into acting. These are in sequence and build on each other, you should not skip to the next step until you've completed the current one.
1. TAKE CLASSES

As with any profession training is key to success - and acting is no different (remember, this is a JOB!). Enrolling your kid in acting classes not only gets them the training they'll need on set, but also allows you to see if they have any real talent or interest in the arts.  ***Be sure to do your research: Classes can be expensive and anyone can claim to be a teacher. Talent scams happen. Do as much research as possible on the studio and it's teachers as well as the costs involved to make the most informed decision possible.***

2. DO THEATRE

Once your child has taken some classes and shown real interest in acting it's time to get them some experience! When just starting out you want to find any opportunity to put into practice what they've been learning. Professional, community, church theatre, paid or unpaid, are all good experience at this point. Enterprising parents may even find independent or student film projects looking for kids, which are great too!

3. GET HEADSHOTS

Professional headshots can make a huge difference when trying to get attention from agents and Casting Directors - which is the next step. Shop around and research photographer's work to see what you like. Be prepared to spend some money: good headshots aren't cheap!! Your headshot is the first impression anyone in the industry is likely to have of you, make sure it's the best possible!



4. FIND AN AGENT
Now that you've gotten your child the training, experience, and materials to be considered a professional actor you may want to consider hiring an agent. Research the agents in your local market and send in your headshot with a resume listing experience and training to all of the reputable ones. If an agency is interested they'll reach out for a meeting and/or audition for representation - each agency is different so make sure you understand what they're looking for in the meeting! Note that this is how you would handle a regional market outside of LA or NYC - those agencies are a different challenge altogether!  **Tip: The best way to get in front of an agent is through networking! If you can get a recommendation for your child from their acting teacher or another industry professional your chances of a landing a meeting are much better!**

5. STAY PREPARED!


At this point many people think an agent all their child's dreams will come true - TV show, commercial, and feature film roles are just around the corner, right?  THINK AGAIN!  Now that you've teamed your child up with an agent you need to keep them in classes and their headshot/resume updated. Doing this will keep them prepared as they develop in the industry. Remember it's a business at this point and should be taken seriously, but... 

6. BE AWARE OF YOUR CHILD'S CHANGING INTERESTS

Yes, this is a business, but your child isn't an adult and their interests will change regularly. I've dealt with all kinds of kids and parents and all of the successful kids have a passion for it and really enjoy all parts of the process. On the other hand I've seen many parents who force their kids in to it - and the kids are simply miserable. Always remember that kids will gain and lose interest in many things as they grow up and it's best to go with the flow than to force them into any one thing. Kids that don't enjoy it and are being made to perform by parents with stars in their eyes rarely succeed, and their apathy is apparent 100% of the time on camera. Know that it's OK to take a break to play baseball or do dance or any other normal kid activities!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

VIDEO: The @LeapFrog #LeapTV Gaming Console for Kids

We received a #LeapTV Gaming Console to share with our friends and check out the new kid-friendly system. All thoughts and opinions are my own, and be sure to watch the video review - it's comprehensive, quick and fun!

My husband has always loved video games. He loves them so much, I'm pretty sure it's genetic. While I'm yearning for the days of side-scrolling Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt, Red's starting to show interest in all the colors, graphics and dancing involved in our newest games (like Just Dance).  Video Games, up until this point, have been an adult-only activity because of the skill required to use the controllers and the adult level of shoot-em-up games that Chase likes to play.  So what's a three year old to do? Enter the LeapTV Gaming System from LeapFrog.  This high tech, camera based gaming system was created just for kids ages 3-8, and provides them with an outlet for energy while they learn and play games.  

Red and I threw a little get together with some of our friends to play with the LeapTV together and really explore everything it had to offer.  I quickly discovered that Red's favorite game is Dino Dance on the Dance & Learn LeapTV cartridge, which caters to the youngest of video game players, while the older guests enjoyed the rhyming games and sports like karate, snowboarding and baseball with mathematics.  Currently (as of 11/2014) there are 9 cartridge games to play, and over 100+ educator approved games that you can reach with the wi-fi compatible system by year's end.  That's a lot to try out and the perfect snowy day activity.  (I heard we're supposed to have a wicked winter!)  
The LeapTV comes with the console, a camera, games, HDMI cord, power cable and transforming controller. Be sure to click on the video below for an interactive, short review of the LeapTV from LeapFrog.  I'm sure the little video game players in your house will love it just as much as Red does!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Fall Fashion with Boots & Booties

Thank you to Rack Room Shoes for helping to complete my fall wardrobe.  I was given a few pairs of boots to create outfits, but thoughts and opinions are my own.  

I hate the winter.  It's way too cold, everything is bare, and I miss the heat and humidity.  With a bitter fall upon us, I'm considering this fall winter's ugly stepsister.  I can't help but be harsh, because I lived in the north for 11 years, and I feel like I paid my dues; I want my Georgia heat!!  So, rather than over-sulk in my beloved tank tops, I've been trying to find a few more looks for the chilly fall leading into winter.  With all the time I'm spending with the Atlanta CBS Mom Squad this season, it's been important for me to feel put together so I'm not concentrating on it during our segments.  After all, confidence is mostly how you feel. If you want to rock something, get it out, put it on and feel fabulous!  

Personally, an awesome purse, a killer top or the perfect pair of shoes will do the trick.  I feel dressed up (instead of my work-at-home uniform of PJ pants and fuzzy slippers), put together and can concentrate on my tasks at hand.  I found some more-than-awesome booties at Rack Room this season, and they are letting me stretch my shorter dresses into chilly weather.  I paired black suede heeled Angel booties with my cobalt blue dress and black velvet blazer for a CBS gig, and it was so comfortable. My tights are lined in fleece, so I was toasty from head to toe! 
Suede Black Heeled Booties from Rack Room are perfect for work
The simple and thin strappage on the Angel boots really compliment the line of the shoe, and the small platforms under the ball of the foot lets me walk around in these heels for a long time and not feel any pain.
Suede Black Heeled Booties from Rack Room are perfect for work
A Target find from 6 years ago, this gray ruffled dress is a staple of my winter "dress up."  I kept the same tights on from earlier in the day, and traded dresses to accent my black Rack Room booties for a high tea with some girl friends at KidsLink.  I felt very chic and ready to have fun!
My favorite date night look with suede booties from Rack Room
For another round of fall outfits, I found a brand new pair of brown leather boots that I desperately needed.  Tall brown boots with a flat sole are my number one choice for chasing Red around town and doing errands in cool weather.  The Limelight Mackenzie boots from Rack Room have a touch of equestrian, but still say "city chic" with a flat sole, flexible leather and comfortable fit.  For a daytime look, I added a long cardigan with some sparkly necklaces to my dark denim skinny jeans.  I could easily attend a meeting, head to the mall or take Red to a playdate in this look.
Casual afternoon errands stay stylish with riding style boots from Rack Room
The next week, I was off again tackling issues with the Mom Squad, and wanted to show off my new boots. This time, I wore a pinwale corduroy dress I found at The Gap, and an equestrian inspired jewelry.  My favorite fall jacket added some contrast to bring out the brown leather in the boots and my Emma Fox purse wasn't far behind.  
Equestrian no Heel Leather Boots from Rack Room are perfect for dressy casual
These boots are extremely comfortable, and while they run a tad small, are formed to the foot and extremely easy to wear.   My favorite little detail is the gold crescent on the heel; you can see it close up in this next photo: 
Equestrian no Heel Leather Boots from Rack Room are perfect for dressy casual
 What are some of your favorite fall looks? Check out Rack Room to see if you can find some booties and boots of your own to put together some awesome, confidence-inspiring outfits for fall (and the hateful season of winter...).

When your kid falls asleep before dinner...

I brought Red home from school Thursday night and he immediately fell asleep on the couch, pink in the cheeks... and I knew I was doomed.  My non-napping 3 year old is sick.  Otherwise he's be running around the house during my 5 o'clock witching hour as I'm trying to make dinner and finishing up work at the same time.   But after asking for his pillow, quilt and blankies on the couch, I knew some special care was in order.  I tucked him into bed early and crossed my fingers that he wouldn't have a stomach bug, the creeping crud, or worse.  

Friday brought a mild fever, even more lethargy, movie watching and lots of pajama time.  My mom and Chase were asking how he was, so I kept sending photo updates.  But now, as I look back at them, they all look the same... Red brought his "sleeping system" across the den, on most of the couches, the floor and even the "big bed" after a while.  Instead of enjoying a little dinner, it all came back up.  While I'll spare you the play by play, let's just say it was not super fun.  
Little man feels really sick this week!
 Saturday and Sunday? Repeat performances of a needy, snuggly, tired guy that didn't know how to be sick.  Laying down and resting aren't in a toddler's list of things to do, so I had to come up with "still" activities like reading, movies, snacktime and other rainy day type of things.  End verdict is an ear infection so bad that it's actually pushing out his tube in his ear! Not cool!  Antibiotics and more rest time are the prescription, but we'll see how that works out! What are your tips for keeping a toddler still, or getting them to rest up?
feeling better

Friday, November 14, 2014

Batteries Not Included... #PowerTheHolidays

Many of Red's favorite toys won't run without Batteries, so a big thank you to Duracell and SheSpeaks for sponsoring our working parts with power this season.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.  

When Red was a baby, I was gifted the most awesome, portable baby swing with two battery-accepting pack on the side.  Vibration and swing speeds were controlled by some beefy batteries, and the swing was so loved that it went on to live with a few other families.  At the shower, taped onto the box (wrapped in it's own crunchy blue wrapping paper) was a 4 pack of giant D size batteries.  I was so grateful that the gift-giver thought to include these!  Of all of the gifts I was given that day, I remember that my guest remembered to purchase and send batteries with the swing... because it meant that "batteries not included" was something I didn't have to worry about.  Maybe my real, deep-seated reason for remembering that particular gift was all of the Christmas gifts that never came with batteries.  With stores closed tight on Christmas Day and the junk drawer stash of copper tops drained, I wouldn't be able to play with my new toys for a few days. And that stunk!  Those flashy lights, sounds and moving parts just aren't the same if you can't use them.  
Duracell Batteries #PowertheHolidays and all our favorite working parts!
Nowadays, in my own home, my junk drawers is stuffed with pens, post its, scissors and batteries. So many batteries that you might be able to power a comet-landing spacecraft!  If Red's toys are ever running low, Chases' headlamp goes dim, or the DVR remote peters out, I have us covered.  A quick reach into the drawer, and I'm pulling out AAs, Cs, Ds and even watch batteries for the scale.  (Um, Scale? Please don't judge me after my upcoming Thanksgiving dinner, mkay? I'm wearing my stretchy pants.)

This year, make sure you have a junk-drawer stash of batteries at the ready for anything that might happen: Snowpocalypse power outages, irritating smoke detector beeps, cranky toddlers crying for that particular toy right this very minute and more.  Or, snag a couple of 4 packs and use them as stocking stuffers for the people who have everything.. because they can always put batteries in their stuff.  
#powertheholidays with Duracell Batteries
What are some of your favorite toys or gear that needs batteries? Anyone for a battery back-powered light up wreath? Tis the season!

Long-lasting Duracell CopperTop batteries are guaranteed for 10-years in storage with their Power Preserve Technology and are available in AA, AAA, C, D and 9V. You can pick up your 16, 8, or 4 packs of Duracell at Walmart for stocking stuffers, gifts and junk-drawer-power-stashes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Wall Art with Printed Paper & A Wire Basket

Every time I shop with my mom it happens. I set out to find something for the house (lamp, table, etc.) and I just can't find it.  I like unusual things, matching palettes, and inevitably design something in my head that doesn't exist.  Rarely, I'll walk into a store and find it immediately.  Instead, I often visit several stores and websites over the course of months until i find something suitable.  My mom says, "why don't you like that? Pick something to fill the space!", but I just can't bring myself to get something that isn't perfectly right.  

When Red outgrew the baby rocker in his room, I was only happy enough to re-purpose the most comfortable seat in the house into the den for my use... but that also meant I needed a side table, lamp, and all the crap that goes with it.  Mom was even in town... so off to the store we went. I'm sure she had steeled her nerves against my indecisiveness and lip pursing.  
Make wall art with wire baskets and printed paper
We were lucky. It was a one-stop shop to TJMaxx, where I not only found the perfect turquoise side table, but a neutral, fresh lamp, a fake orchid (um, I can't keep an ALOE plant alive!!) and a new throw.  But with my new mom-cave snuggling into a corner of my den, I really wanted it to be cozy.  That meant completing the area with some small wall art, too. UGH. I hate picking out wall art. It's either too cookie-cutter, or I feel I could do a better job blindfolding Red and getting him to throw tempra at the wall.  But, then I saw it.  The wire basket on the bottom shelf, tucked behind some awful faux trunks.  (.... Mom, if you're reading this: it was Mom's idea to hang a basket on the shelf, first... but I saw this one.... soooooooo..... Mom was right. About most everything.)  
Mom had also brought me this great entomology poster (she said it was super cheap) and I loved it. I had originally wanted to mat it, but cutting into it and mounting it on said mat board was much better.  I trimmed the mat board to the footprint of the bottom of the basket, and using plain scotch tape, cut the bug paper to size and wrapped the mat board like a present.  
Wall art: Craft together foam core and wallpaper for a fun take on wall art.
Then, I slipped the "bug board" into the basket, and pushed it to the back. The nice thing about mat is that it was sturdy enough to stand up on it's own and not need any securing.  I pressed the wire handles firmly onto the sides of the basket so they didn't splay out. 
A few small picture hooks later, the basket was on the wall and bug board in place.  The final touch was adding two antique family books that belonged to past relatives and my 3x great-grandfather's civil war field glasses on top.  The basket wall art doubles as a shelf!
The final touch on the mom-cave is complete! How do you like my new little nook? I'm happy to say that the only one that sits here is really me.... oh... and Dooley... that white booger crawls up there and naps on the pillow when he thinks no one is looking.  What a stinker.
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